US Aircraft Carrier Makes Rare Port Call in Vietnam

It marks the third visit of a US aircraft carrier to the country since the end of the Vietnam War

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan docked in Da Nang, Vietnam, on Sunday for a six-day visit to the country amid rising tensions between the US and China in the region.

The Ronald Reagan’s port call marks only the third time a US aircraft carrier has visited the country since the end of the Vietnam War. The last time a US aircraft carrier docked in Vietnam was 2020, and before that was 2018.

The US is looking to strengthen ties with Vietnam as part of its policy against China, although Hanoi is looking to balance relations between the two powers, a strategy known by the Vietnamese as “bamboo diplomacy.”

Retired Maj. Gen. Le Van Cuong, former director of the Strategic Studies Institute at the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security, told The South China Morning Post that visits from US aircraft carriers were the new normal as the two nations forged stronger ties. “As the two sides have established a comprehensive partnership, it is completely normal for a US aircraft carrier to come to Vietnam,” he said.

Claims in the South China Sea

Vietnam has overlapping claims with China and several other countries in the South China Sea and recently rebuked Beijing over Chinese research vessels operating in Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which extends 200 nautical miles from its coast. According to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a country has special rights to the resources in its EEZ.

Vietnam also rebuked the Philippines, a close treaty ally of the US, for placing buoys near the contested Spratly Islands, which are claimed by Vietnam, China, the Philippines, and Taiwan.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.